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TP-LINK TL-WDN3800 Dual Band Wireless N600 PCI Express Adapter, 2.4GHz 300Mbps/5GHz 300Mbps, IEEE 802.1a/b/g/n, WEP/WPA/WPA2
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: If you are looking for a PCI-Express wireless adapter for your PC that "just works" and isn't too expensive, this is a good place to start.

The technical details have been covered in other reviews, but I wanted to rave about the single most impressive feature of this card: Reliability.

I live in a 2-floor, 2100 square foot house. I've reviewed many wireless-N devices before, so I was expecting about the same performance as those.
I was wrong.
The most unexpected thing about the TP-Link was the 54% signal strength from the other side of the house, on a different floor, through a ventilation duct, metal bed frame, and 5 walls.

To put it in perspective, even the expensive 802.11AC devices such as the DWA-182, which cost several times as much (though are different classes of device), had unreliable connections at best. I could view images and check email, but not stream movies without losing connection every few minutes.

To contrast, the TP-Link N600 never lost connection when copying over 230GB of files.

Other notes I made:

+ Supports 5GHz networking. Why should you care? The more common (and also supported) 2.4GHz frequency can be very flaky and unpredictable. Microwaves, bluetooth devices, and even garage door openers can interfere with your network.
5GHz networks generally do not have this problem.

Which should you choose?
It depends on your situation. this card supports both, so try both! See what works best for you!

+ Supports low-profile cases with the included adapter.

+ Warranty is 2 years -- twice as long as most other adapters. Really, twice as long as most other computer products of any kind.

Cons: - The drivers come in a mini-CD. This is fine for most computers, but many CD-ROM drives, especially older ones, do not work well with them.

- Ships with old drivers. Any geek, however, should know to always get the latest drivers from the website.

- Signal was much weaker when passing through my aluminum computer case, Easy enough to fix: Move the computer.

- As a PCI-Express card, obviously this product is not mobile. Moving my computer across the house to test was a little awkward.

Other Thoughts: I installed high-gain antennas and saw almost zero difference at any range. The included antennas appear to be very good.

READ FULL REVIEW
Corsair Raptor M45 CH-9000052-NA Black 7 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical 5000 dpi Gaming Mouse
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggs You can never have too much overkill. 03/08/2014

This review is from: Corsair Raptor M45 CH-9000052-NA Black 7 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical 5000 dpi Gaming Mouse

Pros: "Quality is not an act, it is a habit." --Aristotle

Short version:
+ Very grippy sides and mouse wheel
+ Adjustable tracking speed buttons on mouse
+ 2 extra buttons -- Not too many, not too few
+ Fantastically responsive wheel
+ Possibly the best layout of any mouse.
+ Overkill specs

Detail:

GRIP:
When your hands get sweaty, common mice get slippery and you know what that does in combat -- If you didn't, you wouldn't be reading about a gaming mouse.
Let me make a bold statement: Corsair solved the grip problem.
To do an extreme test, I coated my hand in olive oil. Even then, no matter how fast I moved, I never lost mouse precision or grip. Unfortunately now my mouse is all oily. Maybe Corsair will be kind and send a new one in exchange for the noble sacrifice I made for this review. ;)

DPI:
esreality.com has a technical analysis of mouse marketing and how useful gaming mice features really are. To summarize:
High sensitivity players, those that make subtle mouse movements rather than large ones, need about ONE DPI per pixel of screen width. At 1080p (1920x1080), you need at most 1920 DPI.
5,000 DPI is enough for gaming with 2 or 3 monitors, and it's more than enough for 4K screens, but if you don't have such a setup then it's overkill.

TRACKING SPEED:
Low DPI optical mice can get confused with fast movements. I was physically unable to move the Raptor M45 quickly enough to lose tracking quality.

UPDATE SPEED:
The Corsair Raptor's reports mouse position 1,000 times per second, or about 8 times faster than a standard Microsoft optical mouse (125Hz).
@ 60FPS, each frame takes 1000/60=16.7ms. At 1000Hz, there's a 1 in 16.7 chance a movement will be missed until the next frame.
@ 120FPS, the chance is ~ 1 in 8.
Network / monitor lag is a MUCH much bigger factor, and some research shows input lag is only distracting at around 200ms, but the extreme speed doesn't hurt and may make the difference in the most evenly matched combat.

BUTTONS:
In addition to the standard buttons, two thumb buttons are included.
Corsair paid attention to detail with the layout. With my average-size hands, I don't even need to move my thumb to use both buttons in natural thumb position.
Some gamers like more buttons, but I've found that it's too easy to press the wrong one in the heat of battle. If you do like more buttons though, look elsewhere.

Cons: LASER SENSITIVITY ON POOR SURFACES:
A disadvantage of optical mice vs. old ball mice is that the sensor needs to "see" features in the mousing surface to detect movement. Some mice can track even on mirrors, while others require a matte surface. While you should use a mouse on a proper mouse pad, sometimes that isn't an option.
I tested the Corsair Raptor M45 in a variety of surfaces. Here is its report card:

A+ Cloth mouse pad
A+ Semi-glossy laminate desk
C- Glossy cardboard box (Slightly erratic)
A+ Highly polished solid wood table
F- Wood with high-gloss oil-based paint (No tracking possible)
F- Blank silicon semiconductor wafer -- This is one of the most perfectly flat surfaces in the world, so it's an unfair test. Still, it failed. (No tracking possible)

The Corsair mouse is about average on non-ideal mousing surfaces.

BUTTON PRESSURE:
- Requires a little too much force to click the middle button. This may have been by design to prevent accidental middle-clicking while selecting weapons (or other mouse wheel actions) in-game, but this was never a problem for me. Out of game I middle-click on links to open new browser tabs, and it feels a little awkward on the Corsair mouse. It's as if I'm saying, "No, I REALLY want you to middle click." Minor complaint, though.

HAND POSITION:
Natural right-hand wrist position is angled clockwise 30-60 degrees. The Raptor M45 is almost completely flat, so keeps your hand in the same slightly unnatural position that most mice do. I find Evoluent "vertical mice" more comfortable, but then they aren't very good for gaming, so this may be by design.

LEFT-HANDERS:
I am right-handed, but I tried using the mouse left-handed to the best of my ability.
It worked well, but the two additional buttons are positioned near the ring finger. I found it very difficult to distinguish the buttons with that finger, but left-handed folks would probably fare much better than I.

Other Thoughts: Corsair's Vengeance case, water cooling, and now this mouse -- Corsair is on a role lately.

READ FULL REVIEW
Rosewill SilentNight-500 500W Continuous @50°C, Intel Haswell Ready, 80 PLUS PLATINUM, ATX12V v2.31 & EPS12V v2.92, SLI/CrossFire Ready, Fan-less Active PFC Power Supply
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Power supply temperature is lukewarm running OCCT (a load testing application) and Assassin's Creed IV on an overclocked i7, an overclocked nVidia 780 GTX, 4 blu-ray drives, 2 hard drives, and two SSDs.

I've used fanless PSUs for years and wrote some of the first articles on how to build a "real" PC without moving parts. I've built high-end custom workstations since the mid-90's. So when I say this is the best power supply I have ever used by any metric (except max power output and price), you've got to appreciate how good a job the designers did.

Cons: As with any fanless and/or Platinum-rated power supply, the cost per watt is higher than lesser quality power supplies.

Other Thoughts: This is the KINGWIN STR-500, manufactured by SuperFlower.
Reading the reviews, this power supply is one of the two or three best ever manufactured for quality voltage regulation, ripple, load response, and can actually output 600W (not just 500). Some reviewers measured results which were merely excellent rather than top-3-ever, though that may be due to test equipment variation.

This is a highest-end power supply, to join the ranks of Seasonic and PCPower&Cooling's top-of-the-line. If you want the absolute best, and don't use more than two video cards in SLI, this is it.

READ FULL REVIEW

Charles B.'s Profile

Display Name: Charles B.

Date Joined: 01/02/03

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  • First Review: 11/09/06
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